Remember the low fat craze? We were led to believe that if you ate fat you got fat. Research has proved that wrong. Eating good fats are actually healthy for us and we need them to optimize our health. Now, research has been steering towards the other villain, SUGAR. It is my belief that this time we have it right. The rates of sugar related diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease are on the rise. The low fat craze started our addiction to sugar. When you take the fat out of food it tastes terrible. So, food companies replaced the fat with, you guessed it, SUGAR! Think back to the 80's and 90's- remember Snackwells cookies?? How many boxes of those did you eat saying "they are fat free"?! People were joining gyms in huge numbers yet the country was getting fatter and fatter. I wonder why?? Do you think it had something to do with all the sugar we were now being force fed? Did you know that sugar is 8 times as addictive as cocaine?? It is! Most of us would never dream of doing cocaine or give it to our children, yet we don't think twice about ingesting a legal substance that is just as deadly- sugar! Now, sugar is hidden in our food and food manufacturer's know that it is addictive and we will keep coming back for more and more. IT(sugar) is good for their bottom line!! However, IT(sugar) is bad for your bottom line!
You have all heard the phrase, "a calorie is a calorie is a calorie" or "burn more calories than you consume and you will lose weight". Both of these are false. You see sugar is more than just an "empty" calorie. It is a toxic calorie. You consume sugar and your body experiences metabolic changes. Consume too much sugar(as most American's do) and your body can't process it. Instead the pancreas is over worked with releasing insulin to respond to the increase in sugar in the blood, the liver is overworked trying to metabolize the fructose. What the liver can't metabolize it stores as fat. We see this in the rise in non-alcoholic fatty liver, increased triglycerides, and increased blood glucose levels.
Moderate consumption of sugar, which the American Heart Association says is 6-9 teaspoons of sugar per day is actually o.k. Your body can process this appropriately without too much stress being added. This 6-9 teaspoons is broken down like this:
-6 teaspoons for women, or 25grams/day
-9 teaspoons for men, or 38 grams/day.
-Children should not get more than 3-6teaspoons(12-25 grams/day)
The problem is that the average American is consuming 19 teaspoons of sugar per day!! That is aprox. 76 grams of sugar each day!! It has been said that we consume 61pounds of sugar each year!
Some of that is not really your fault.
Sugar is hidden in processed foods.
Sugar goes by many names (there are about 61 names like: sucrose and high fructose corn syrup as well as barley malt, dextrose, maltose and rice syrup, among others) that food manufacturers are counting on you not catching in that long list of ingredients.
My advice is:
-Consume whole, real foods.
-Stay away from anything processed or packaged.
-Read your labels. If there is a long list of words that you can't pronounce it is not food! Do not eat it!
-Avoid sugary snacks- even those that say "natural fruit"(which is worth of a post on its own.....as this is a huge scam!)
-Do not drink fruit juices or soda!
-Become a label reader! Sugar is even hidden in foods many of us consider healthy like yogurt and energy bars. Be aware of what you are choosing to put into your body.
How can you tell if the amount of sugar you are eating is causing a problem for your health?
-Do you mostly eat processed food and consume candy and soda?
-Do you eat high carbohydrate meals for breakfast, like cereal or bread?
-Do you find yourself crashing after meals and craving sugar as a pick me up?
-Do you have "sugar belly"? is your waist measurement larger than your hips?
If you say yes to those you should see your Dr and get a blood test done to measure your liver function as well as your triglyceride level.
If you are serious about your health, and you should be, detoxing from sugar is essential. Watch for my next post on how to break the sugar addiction once and for all!